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Full text of "A full exposition of the Clintonian faction and the society of the Columbian illuminati : with an account of the writer of the Narrative, and the characters of his certificate men, as also remarks on Warren's pamphlet"

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH 




.Darlington JM.emorial .Library 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Pittsburgh Library System 



http://www.archive.org/details/fullexpositionofOOwood 



FULL EXPOSITION 



CF THE 



CLINTONIAN FACTION, 

AND THE SOCIETY OF THE 

Columbian Illuminaii ; 

WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE WRITER 

OF THE 



NARRATIVE, 

AND THE 

CHARACTERS OF HIS 

CERTIFICATE MEN, 

AS ALSO 
/ 

REMARKS Oft 

WARREN'S P AMPULE 



BY JOHN WOOD. ' • / f ' 



NEWARK : 

PP.INfED FOR tUB. A 7 .- . 






y v>?»& 



c> 



V ft 



ADVERTISEMENT. 
TBE appearance of a pamphlet under the fictitious signature 
^£ ytarren, containing the grossest falsehoods, imposed upon the 
public by plausible vouchers, has induced me, contrary to irxlina- 
iian, age into come forward, not only to refute the calumny, but if 
possible to prevent future attempts of the like nature, by exposing 
she. banditti of infidelity in all their schemes of infamous ambition* 



A FULL EXPOSITION, &t. 

HE prosperity of a nation, and the happiness of a peo- 
ple, depend on no circumstances so much, as a cordial understand- 
ing between the chief rulers. — The smallest deviation in point of 
sentiments among the first magistrates of a country, always cre- 
ates jealousy and distrust, which finally lead to factions, that 
increase in mutual animosity, according to their distance from 
the seat of administration, and the means of arriving at the truth. 
A writer of some celebrity compares the best form of Govern- 
ment, to a nice piece of mechanism, which if the most trifling in- 
jury befalls the primary movements, communicates the disaster 
■with accelerated force to the subordinate members, until the whole 
goes in confusion, and an entire dissolution takes place. The in- 
numerable instances of fatal discord, -which almost all nations 
have experienced in this respect, ought to guard the citizens of 
America from a like error, particularly when under their exellent 
constitution; the duration of the chief magistracy is so limited, 
that it ought to be the interest and duty of every good citizen, so 
far from fomenting any unhappy divisions which may arise, rather 
to endeavour, by every possible means, to effect a reconciliation 
and to preserve a mutual harmony between the officers of Govern- 
ment, until the expiration of the period for which they were elect- 
ec ^ — Then, and then alone, are the people to judge of the -wisdom 
or degree of error which the executive has displayed ; whether by 
a judicious administration they are to merit the thanks oftheii 



C 6 3 

tountrymen and be restored to their former trust, or for folly and", 
inconsistency, to be disgraced and marked with contempt. 

It cannot be denied, that an injudicious disposal of offices, or 
attempts to infringe the constitution, are acts which will raise 
an immediate disgust in the minds of most citizens, at the conduct 
of the administration ; but the most prudent and salutary mode to be 
pursued, even in such cases, will be, to guard with a watchful and 
submissive eye, the several servants of Government, until the pro- 
per opportunity arrive, for calling them to account for their per- 
version of justice. 

Sentiments of this nature may not appear to carry equal weight 
by coming from the pen of a foreigner, as they would do, perhaps, 
from one who was attached to America from the natural ties of 
parental affection — They certainly do not, nor should I now pre- 
sume to advise to one measure in preference to another, had not a 
train of circumstances already involved me in the political world, 
and compelled me to a public vindication, not only of my own con- 
duct, but what I deem of much greater importance, an explanation 
of my connexion with the second character in the union, in a 
transaction, which, the malice of an aspiring party has taken the 
opportunity of aspersing with the venom of their poison. 

The Gentleman who has honored me with an answer to my cor-^- 
rect statement, has endeavoured to impose upon the public, by a 
species of plausible testimony, which unless examined, might have 
a tendency to carry conviction to the minds of the uninformed. 
The disingenuous artifice which he has adopted of separating 
both himself and the narrative writer, from Denniston and Cheet- 
ham, in order to double the evidence, so far from adding force to 
his argument, will, when exsposed, only like false colouring, be- 
tray his object, and make him appear to the world as a contempt - 

aT>Ie Jester The epithets of Billingsgate which dance through 

every sentence of the Clintonian defence, may move my pity, but. 



t 9 1 

Shall not provoke'my resentment. I shall meet the Pamphleteer 
Upon the fairest ©f grounds, and promise, I will not desert the con- 
test, until both he and his partizans shall appear to all mankind 
the mirrors of treachery and infidelity.— .1 shall proceed simply to. 
inform the public, of the views of his party, and the characters 
which compose it. — I shall state the society of infidels which they 
Support, and of which several of the party are members— I shall 
relate the views of this society, and the progress they have made ; 
and then leave it to the citizens of the union, to decide upon the 
credit due to the narrative writer, and his band of patriots. 

The Clintonian faction is of no modern date— A party particu- 
larly attached to the family of Clinton, has existed since the revo- 
lution. — A generous gratitude to the present Governor of the 
state of New-York, for his services during the war, laid the 
foundation of this party, which now, overleaping the boundaries 
of its native state, seems willing to extend its influence over the 
union. — The members of it actuated partly by prejudice, and part- 
ly by selfish motives, have extended the merited support, which, 
they afforded the venerable Governor, into a dangerous partiality, 
in favour of Mr. De Witt Clinton. Without claim to one action 
of service ; without a single recommendatory qualification, this 
young man introduced himself to one of the most important trusts 
of his state, merely on the supposition that the honesty of an un- 
cle, was to flow in the veins of a nephew ; but a fews months con- 
duct only served to mark Mr. De Witt Clinton, as one of those, 
instances, where vice is descended from virtue, and vicious incon- 
sistency from prudent resolution. 

The whole family of the Clintons, from the Governor down to 
the ignorant Denniston, were always opposed to Mr. Burr ; but 
the original cause of their opposition, I am not acquainted with ; 
probably it might arise from the opposite dispositions of the Vice- 
President and Governor Clinton, whose minds in respect to talent, 
are as differently formed, if I may borrow a comparison from Eu- 



( 8 > 

ropean characters, is ever were those, of the accomplished Ches-c 
terfield and the Methodist Westly.— -In speaking of Mr. Burr 
and Governor Clinton, it may not be improper, if I bestow a little 
attention on that part of the View of Mr. Burr's politic?.! conduct, 
by the author of the Narrative, which is opposed to Governor 
Clinton. — That writer, who I have no hesitation to declare to 
be Mr. Cheetham ; strenuously condemns every measure that 
was not introduced by the Clintonian party ; and takes care to 
search out every step, in which Mr. Burr has deviated from them. 
In short, a person unacquainted with the politics of America, pe« 
rusing this man's productions, would necessarily suppose, that 
the Governor was of divine origin ; that the Clintonian sys- 
tem of legislature, was the only one, truly orthodox; that the 
sentiments of the family, merited the same respect, as the laws of 
Moses ; and that the unfortunate unbeliever, was in reality a po- 
litical infidel. The Clinton Family are held out, as the only sure 
land mark, to guide the wavering and uncertain citizen, through 
the political ocean of controversy. The Clintonian path is pro- 
claimed as the only certain road to liberty and reason ; the readi- 
est way to happiness and riches, and the best guide to the favour? 
of the bountiful Statesman of Monticello. Every thing, in the 
opinion of Mr. Cheetham, which is Clintonian, is excellent ; while 
all matters, which have not received their approbation, are despi- 
cable. — It requires neither penetration to discover, nor ingenuity 
to prove, that' to enforce this belief, is the principal aim, both of 
the Narrative and the View. In the year 1789, when Governor 
Clinton and Judge Yates, were held up for the important place of 
Governor, Mr. Burr is censured, because he supported the latter, 
in preference to the former. — Antifederalism in this case, was out 
of the question, as the two candidates were of the same principle. 
It was simply a contest between families, whose political opinions 
were alike : but in the judgment of Mr. Cheetham, Mr. Burr 
ought to be blamed because he did not support Mr. Clinton. — 
At the returning period of general election, Mr. Burr is again 



I 9 j 

Censured for having suffered his friends, who belonged to the re* 
publican party, to set him up in opposition to Clinton — as 
if the latter alone had the exclusive privilege to the support of 
the antifederalists. Wivether the facts which the Narrative 
writer here statss are correct or not, is a matter of no conse- 
quence. They no way contribute either to prove Mr. Burr a 
federalist, or an antifederalist — or to raise or depress him in the 
opinion of any rational man. They irtnst, however, serve to 
make him esteemed by every independent character, who wishes 
to move according to principle, and not act the humble tool 
of particular individuals! 

The Clinton party did not, however, oppose Mr. Burr until 
after his election as Vice-President, although they used every 
private exertion, to cause certain electors of the different states* 
New- York in particular, to drop him for John Lang-don— and 
G-overnor Clinton himself, even insinuated in a private circle of 
his friends, that if the Vice-Presidency had been pressed upon 
him, he would have accepted of it, had he known the republican 
party were to have set up Mr. Burr;* 

But the circumstance which excited the Clinton chagrin to an 
apparent pitch, was the President bestowing several of the offices 
in New-York, to persons attached to Mr. Burr, in preference to 
their own creatures* So jealous were the Clinton family in this 
respect, that their toolb industriously circulated reports of quar- 
rels between the President and Vice-President, when the utmost 
harmony existed between them ; and they went so far as even to 
hint at some letter which was said to have been written so eariy as 
the month of May after the election, from the Secretary of the 



* A most respectable citizen in New-York, who wes said to bs 
an amorous visitor in the Governor's family at this period, declared 
he heard Governor Clinton use an expression to phis purpose at A»V 
0%in table. 



t 10 J 

Treasury to tlonnnodore Nicholson, reprehensive of Mr. Burr's 
conduct. From this period nearly, may be dated the Clintoniati 
and Burr factions. 'The active characters which compose the for- 
mer, are Mr. De Witt Clinton, Mr .'George Clinton, Mr. Riker, 
Mr. Wortman, Mr. 'Osgood, Mr. Sylvanus Miller, Dr. Ander- 
son, Editor Cheetham, and John Ferguson, the Secretary to the 
Commissioners of Bankruptcy. 

As these men are all natives of America, except Mr. Cheet» 
liam, it is presumed the private history of their lives is sufficiently 
known ; and, indeed, the character of Cheetham is so noted for 
infamy, that perhaps any further remarks to establish its notorie- 
ty, would be regarded only as taking a delight in treading the 
paths of vice and slander. Painful, however, asa topic of this 
nature must be to every generous mind, there are some cases 
which require an illustration of the vilest actions, in order to 
point out their effect upon society, and the link of the chain 
which connects them with the more virtuous v/orks of the commu- 
nity. The character of Cheetham forms one directly of this de- 
scription. Were it not for the humble part he acts in the service 
of De Witt Clinton, his name would be considered as a marked 
insult, offered even to the most profligate reader. But De Witt 
Clinton, although as a private individual, he may not deserve the 
notice of the public, yet, as a Senator of Congress, he merits 
attention, not only by his own actions, but those of his menial, 
servants. The common executioner of justice, who lanks in a 
class the most despicable in a civilized nation, is often ne- 
cessarily mentioned, from the offices which the law compels 
him to perform ; and Cheetham, who may be regarded as the exe- 
cutioner of De Witt's pleasure, has a claim to a degree of notice 
•from the same account. 

This fellow is well known to be a native of Manchester, and 
a hatter by trade. The ether particulars of his life, are not so 
generally pfeUc. He is the youngest of three brothers, wh» 



[ H ]" 

ar-e reported to have been designated in their native town, by the* 
epithet of the three jacobin infidels. Their names John, Benja- 
min and James, alone pointed them out as the descendants of a 
christian family, the founder of which, it. we are to infer from... 
the word Cheet/uun, most probably died on the gallows — James, 
the editor, was always regarded as the leader of the three, and 
the other two, who are no way remarkable but for stupidity, were 
rather pitied, as being the dupes of their brother, than censured 
by the public. When the mad doctrines propagated in the reign 
of Robespicre, lighted the tcrch of discord in Great-Britain, the 
manufacturing towns, from being the seats of industry, were 
suddenly converted into scenes of riot and rebellion. This was 
the field for the wild pagination of James Cheethan: to -roam about. 
With the Rights cf Man in one hand, and the Age of Reason in 
another, he is said to have run from tavern to tavern, and front 
brothel to brothel, collecting and summoning together all that 
wickedness had rendered contemptible, drunkenness turned idle, 
and indolence made destitute. . At the head of this ragged and 
half starved banditti, he traversed the streets in contempt of both 
church and government. . The whig party, whose opposition was 
founded on rational principles, regarded him as only an ignorant 
desperado, leading a wretched rabble to destruction, and receiv- 
ed the greatest pleasure, when both he and his gang were com- 
mitted to Lancaster jail. Here Cheetharn continued several 
months, to the infinite satisfaction of his townsmen, who viewed 
him as a nuisance to the place. Whether he was liberated with- 
out trial, or acquitted by some mistake in the indictment, I have 
not been informed ; but certain it is, that all classes of citizens 
in Manchester, were so exasperated at his release, that they turn- 
ed their former indignation into an unwarrantable rancour. Not 
being able to find the liberated ' felon, who was concealed by his 
mother in an old chest deposited in the garden, they wreaked their 
vengeance on the inoffensive John*. This poor fellow was mad : 



* I call this man inoffensive, although he possesses the same 
principles as his bro:k?~\ Because he has never been Incivi to ~aL- 



t 12 J 

fast to. a pole, from the top. of which was suspended an image of 
Thomas Paine, the idol of the family. Ribbons of infamy were 
tacked round him from his head to hi? heels, and in this disgrace- 
ful state, the miserable creature was carried round the town of 
Manchester, until night put a close to the tormenting scene. 
The punishment of Tohn, was a sufficient example to the family ; 
gnd both mother, chest, and sons, before next morning, took 
their Might for America. Arrived in the new world, I shall leave 
John and Benjamin to the industrious occupations which they 
pursue, and confine my remarks solely to the Citizen Editor. I 
have related in my Correct Statement, the manner by which he 
obtained a partnership in the American Citizen, and his ingrati- 
tude afterwards to his patron, Colonel Burr. Indeed, it most 
frequently happens, that acts of kindness to men of Cheetham's 
description, prove unfortunate to the generous benefactor, and 
ultimately confer on him dishonour and reproach. Their services 
while they last, are only marked with infamy, and their resent- 
ment, when excited, is often more fatal than the enmity of a 
stranger. When Mr. Burr expressed his disapprobation at the 
billingsgate, manufactured for the American Citizen, Cheetham 
■aimed his back on his friend, and cordially embraced the views 
of Mr. De Witt Clinton. There was a fortunate similarity of 
sentiment between this gentleman and the Manchester hatter ; 
the coarse and vulgar language of the latter, which was offensive 
t<| every delicate ear, was peculiarly acceptable to the rough and 
vitiated taste of Mr. Clinton. Their friendship was moreover ce- 
mented by Cheetham's connexion with David Denniston, the 
blood relation of the Clinton family. The moment of union was 
also adapted to th^ wedlock of infamy. De Witt Clinton, then 



tov.pt an injury to others. He has an irreproachable character both 
«s to temperance and industry ; and were it not for the example of 
the editor, he might be justly esteemed a useful member of society, 
■T. ''it sphere in wjhieh he mdves* 



C 13 ] 

in the Council of Appointment, regardless of the admonitions of 
lis venerable uncle, was spreading with malignant fury, ruin 
and destruction through the state of New-York. Honesty, me- 
rit, and virtue were compelled to seek for an asylum, by a hasty 
retreat from public duty into private life, while the vindictive 
brooding Wortman, the conceited Riker, and a band of pretend- 
ed patriots, only capable ef acting as the prompters of a puppet 
show, were hastening in, to garble on the fees of office, una to 
snort with the passions and prejudices of a populace warmed eve^ 
ry morning by the declamatory jargon of Mr. Cheetham. Dur-« 
ing this farcical scene, the auctioneers or hammermen, were buz- 
zing about, like wandering bees that had lost their hive. Mothers 
were seen suppliants for days together in Mr. Clinton's lobby, 
to obtain pardon for their sons ; while affectionate wives did not 
hesitate to throw themselves at the feet of De Witt to shield their 
husbands from beggary. Every Villain in New-York, volunteered 
in his service ; even the miserable wretches in the state prison, 
cleared up their dismal countenances in hopes of liberty ; for in a 
cause where no regard was paid to justice, nor attention to hon- 
our, the most infamous characters were necessary tools to its 
success. Private caucusses were nightly held in the chambers of 
Jtiker and Wortman, for the purpose of laving plans in order to 
promote the Glintonian interest among the lower classes. This 
was the greatest difficulty ; there were few or no places fitted to 
gratify their desires ; and the instability of an uninformed popu- 
lace, both Wortman and Riker were well acquainted with. But 
they knev/ that they themselves were improper agents for this pur- 
pose. Other persons were required, whose habits of life rendered 
them more suitable orators for the occasion. David Derruston, 
at his leisure hours, with the assistance of Taylor Sidell, wa? 
deemed a proper person to convert the Yorkers. The latter ba* 
since been publicly rewarded for his services, and David, being 
a family cousin, has no doubt received a generous draught from 
the Ciintonun cup. One Hereford, an Irishman, at that :•• . .o-i 



[ 14 ] 

agent, in New-York for the Aurora, and one Christian, a cabine3 
Maker, another Irishman, were thfiught fit messengers to run 
amqng the new imported Hibernians, in order to quiet their lo-- 
quacious wants. Walter Morton, a Scotchman, whose biogra- 
phy I shall presently give, was a proper visitor to the inquisitive 
and wary Caledonians. 

De Witt Clinton was so eager at this period to have in his ser- 
vice those characters who are called club orators, that he is said 
to have visited most of the taverns in New- York for that purpose 
He received information of a Barber, who had published an 
essay on the liberty of the press, had been secretary to the Scotch 
convention, was a deist in principle, and an excellent logician 
among jacobins. To this man he repaired, with the intention 
of making him hair-dresser to the whole Clintonian family, pro- 
vided he would swear allegiance to their interest ; but what was; 
his astonishment and disappointment, in place of a talkative bra- 
vado, which he expected to find, only to see a little fellow, four 
feet in height, about thirty years of age, but seventy in looks, with 
a mournful eye, sallow complexion, and tremulous hand, waving 
a broken razor along the surface of an old shoe, which served, 
him for a whetstone. Mr. Clinton at the sight of the spectre, 
•was most heartily inclined to take an immediate leave, but the 
philosophic barber, having requested him to be seated, he disclos- 
ed the object of his visit, and as a mark of brotherly love, sub- 
mitted his face to the operation of a many toothed iron, for 
the space of half an hour ; all his arts of complaisance, however,, 
were to no purpose, for he confessed to a person, who I heard re- 
late the anecdote, that he never found so much virtuous obstinacy y 
m the heart of a jaco&in. 

The next circumstance in Mr. De Witt Clinton's political cha- 
racter, which I shall remark, is his election as Senator to Con- 
gress, i This was a most important step to the party. They want- 
ed an ambassador at the seat of government; and none certainly 



i 15 ] 

•was better" qualified than the man to whom they had sold both 
their fortune and honour. Leaving the management of New- 
York in the hands of Riker, Wortinan, and the editor Cheetham, 
he repaired to Washington about the end of February. There he 
set to work all his talents to render himself agreeable to Mr. Jef- 
ferson ; he preserved a formal and distant civility towards Mr. 
'Madison, (who, it is said, perceived his intentions) and slyly in- 
sinuated himself into the favour of the Secretary of the Treasury. 
Here I shall leave Mr. Clinton caucussing with the republican in- 
terest, until I relate the proceedings of his minions at New-York, 
during his absence. Wortman and Riker, with the editor Cheet- 
ham I have said were the persons to whom was entrusted the in- 
terest of the family. I ought, however, not to havepassed over his 
brother George, whom the writer of the View calls, in page 91, a 
promising young man. Cheetham, when he used this expression, 
certainly must have had a contemptible opinion of the judgment 
of his readers — for no one knows the indolent weakness of George 
Clinton, better than Cheetham ; perhaps a greater simpleton is 
not to be found in the whole city of New- York, if his cousin, the 
Governor's son, be excepted ; and yet this same George, Mr. 
Burr is said to have dreaded, (vid. page 91.) His character, not- 
withstanding, is preferable to his brothers ; he possesses a certain 
pride, not uncommon with ideots, which prevents him mixing 
with the bftfFoons of party, or becoming the bully of any individu- 
al. His countenance is open, neither marked with the gloom of 
Wortman, or the simpering smile of the deputy -attorney general, 
and if separated from his party, he would be even a companion for 
honest men, on a joyful occasion. The most prominent political 
intrigue acted by the Clinton party, were their proceedings at 
New-York during the elestion for members to serve in the Legis- 
lature. To give the reader sufficient information on this head, it 
is necessary that I transcribe a few paragraphs of what Mr. Cheet- 
ham says in his View on the subject : — " Calculating on the effi- 
cacy of intrigue, and the knowledge of the art, the little band 






t !«. J 

entertained hopjs tnat, at the spring election of this year, in the 
tity of New- York, for members; of Assembly, they could succeed 
in sending to the Legislature men zealous to promote the schemes 
of the Vice-President — It was expected by those who knew the 
projects and designs of Mr. Burr, and of those who were enlisted 
in his service, that the little handful of desperate and unsound 
citizens, would make an efFort to get some of their associates 
nominated, and of course elected." 

" Accordingly, a general meeting of the citizens was called by 
public advertisement. The design of the meeting was to recom- 
mend to the different wards in the city, the appointment of a com- 
mittee of nomination, each to furnish an equal number. It was 
thought too, more proper that the meeting- should fix on the num- 
ber of persons to be sent from each ward, that an uniform rule 
might be pursued — Agreeably to the maxim, that a small body of 
men are more liable to yield to the impressions of intrigue than a 
large one, the Burrites, pluming themselves oil their adroitness in 
the art, were for a small committee. Those who were sensible 
of their machinations, and determined to oppose them, consider- 
ing that there is more safety in many than in a few persons, and 
that our citizens generally were unacquainted with the arts of the 
little faction, advocated a large committee of nomination. The 
Burrites were for a committee of three persons from each of the se- 
ven wards, making in the whole a general committee of twenty- 
one. Their opponents were in favor of seven from each, ma- 
king in the aggregate a committee of forty nine. It was known 
that the little band had no more than ten active men among them, 
ana it was probable that, if the general committee of nomination 
were to consist of no more than twenty one persons, one half 
of that number would be favourers of the views of Mr. Burr. 
In this case, four or five of the faction would have been nominated 
to represent the city in the State Legislature — and there is n<3 
knowing what mischief they would there have done-" 



t 17 } 

*' A committee of seven from each ward, however, was agreed 
vpon in the general meeting, by a large majority — so far an im- 
portant end was gained.'' 

11 It was now necessary to attend to the election of the commit- 
tees in the respective wards — It was expected that the subtlest of 
the Burritian arts, would be employed to compass the election of 
as many of the band as possible. — The expectation was realized ; 
their effects were pretty successful — -ten or eleven were elected. 
This evinces the wisdom of the proposition for a large committee." 

Mr. Cheetham then proceeds to state, that after the committee 
of nomination met, it was soon perceived, that a mutual jea- 
• lousy existed between the friends and foes of the administration ; 
that the former were by far the more numerous in the committee ; 
and that they were determined to negative every preposition for 
placing one of the little band on the list cf nomination, while the 
latter were not less resolute to oppose the nomination of any of 
the Clinton family. He adds that the nomination of W. P. Va- 
ness, was a favourite point with the little band, but that Mr- 
Vaness was negatived, having only eleven of the forty nine 
votes. 

Mr. George Clinton, he says, was elected a candidate by the 
committee of nomination ; but, that the moment his election was 
ascertained, Mr. Swartwout rose and declared he would oppose 
him, in the general meeting of citizens, to whom the nomination 
of the committee was to be submitted. 

He then proceeds to state, that after three or four days of deli- 
beration and reflection, that portion of the committee who had 
elected Mr. Clinton were of opinion , that, for the sake of harmo- 
ny and the furtherance of the election of Col. Broome, it would 
be proper to withdraw his name from the list of nomination. 

It is hardly conceivable with what intention or hopes of belief, 

C 



I re ] 

the brazen mind of Mr. Cheetham has dared to make assertidn?^ 
tlftit he must have known would appear absurd to the general class 
of citizens in New- York. He was not ignorant that, though 
at the general meeting of the citizens, some of Mr. Burr's friends 
voted for a small committee, yet a greater proportion of them 
•along with the Clintonia-ns, were for seven members from each 
ward ; he was present, and heard Doct. Smith, one of the most 
violent partizans of Mr. Burr, make a most elaborate and ingeni- 
ous speech, in favour of the latter motion — He was sensible, 
that it was in a great measure owing to Doct. Smith, the friend of 
Mr. Burr, that the motion was carried. — He beheld also several 
of Mr. Clinton's warmest friends, vote on the side of what he 
terms the little band ; the meeting in short, was never considered, ' 
•except by the deputy Attorney Geneial, Mr. Wortman and Mr. 
Cheetham, as a political one, to divide the republican party— 
They were desirous, however, it should be so considered, and left 
no means untried to effect their wish. To those citizens who were: 
not 'in the secret, and we're strangers to the Clinton intrigues, 
Cheetham's proclamation of a Burr faction appeared, at first, as 
the wild effusion of a maniac, and it was not until little Riker, . 
like a twittering torn-tit, chirped the notes of the bully Bird, that 
the song gained any credit. Wortman also, as a drooping owl, 
was a harbinger of the mournful tale. — But it was left to Mr. 
George Clinton to complete the tragic scene ; the baby cheeks of 
this gentleman are so well adapted to display the effect of a 
trickling tear, that it was with justice supposed the nerves of 
every Burrite would be convulsed on the occasion. — According- 
ly on the appointed evening the tender hearted youth, support- 
ed by cousin Denniston on the right, and partner Wortman on the 
left, stalked forth, amidst the assembled citizens, and in plaintive 
accent, declined the intended honor, of being appointed to the Le- 
gislature. — Mr. Claeetham says, that the withdrawing ©f Mr. 
^Clinton's name from the nomination, excited so much disgust. 



[ 19 ] 

that they were in every essential ward, indolent and lethargic at. 
the ensuing election. — A vast majority certainly were so, and ne- 
ver turned out to the polls : but tjheir disgust proceeded from a 
v,ery different cause ; it arose from this tragic political farce, act- 
ed by the Clinton family. Even the most ignorant negro, could 
not but discern the blushing hypocrisy, which flowed from the 
melting eyes of George, when delivering his address ; the affect- 
ed condolence of the deputy attorney general ; the sympathetic 
grin of counsellor Wortman and David Denniston, and, the pitiful 
displeasure which the grumbling Clintonians muttered on their 
gums, at the conclusion of the ceremony. 

The sequel to the farce, was reserved to the management of 
Riker. 

** The children's wonder — signo.r Punchencllo, 
Who struts upon the stage, his hour away — . 
His outside gold— his inside rags and hay - } " 

and perhaps such an artful scheme was never laid by this gentle- 
man before— A young Frenchman from the West-Indies, a clerk 
in the house of the Messrs. Napier, in Pearl-street, and an ac- 
quaintance of Mr. Riker's, lodged in the house with Doct. Smith. 
The Doctor one morning, observing the Frenchman busily employ- 
ed in writing election tickets, had the curiosity to look at one of 
them ; when to his astonishment, he perceived it contained the 
name of George Clinton, who a few nights before, declined being 
a candidate, with the affecting ceremony I have mentioned ; upon 
farther interrogation, the Frenchman candidly confessed, he was 
employed by Mr. Riker. Doctor Smith, confounded at this in- 
telligence, hurried away to Mr. Riker's ; but the deputy attorney 
general who is never discomposed, unless when uttering the truth 
with the most careless indifference said, " the fellow must have 
dreamt the story, or something to that purpose ; and that he 
would see about it.'' — Doctor Smith returned to the Frenchman 
who still insisted as to the name of his employer — But Mr. Rik«? 



t 20 i 

having seen the poor foreigner that evening, according to his pro- 
mise to the Doctor ; a proper French tale was manufactured, 
against the next meeting of the citizens. The Frenchman came 
forward and declared, he only made use of Mr. Riker's name, in 
order to conceal that of the real employer : while the deputy at-; 
torney general, with his laughing logic, endeavored to persuade 
the marveling carmen of the truth of his assertions. — The spring of 
the plot being thus broken, the Clinton Band were obliged to re- 
sign with a tear of real sorrow that object which a few evenings 
before they were in hopes of accomplishing by a show of affected 
distress- 
There was another 'object which was deemed at this time, of 
considerable importance to the Clinton interest — and this was to 
obtain the favour of the new made citizens. To effect this, a so- 
ciety was formed under the direction of Cheetham, for the avow- 
ed purpose of giving instructions to the foreigners in the different 
wards, relative to the mode of becoming citizens ; but the real 
design was to explain to them the line of politics they were to pur- 
sue. The members of this society, I think, were Walter Mor- 
ton, John Aird, David Denniston, Alexander Gordon, Henry 
Hereford, an odd fellow of an Irishman, called Caldwell, who on 
account of his drollery, goes under the name of old mother Cole, 
slong with several others, whose names I do not recollect. I was 
introduced by accident one night at a meeting of these gentlemen, 
and as I was informed by Mr. Cheetham of the nature of the bu- 
siness on which they convened, it is most probable that they were 
all members — of this, however, I am not certain, as one or two of 
them might have been visitors like myself. It is needless for to* 
to mention the ridiculous and irregular proceeding of Wortman, 
in running'to the poll with the books of the Mayor's court under 
his arm, and with a troop of ragged aliens at his tail, when stamp 
certificates could not be procured. This unwarrantable act has 
already been sufficiently handled by others ; the cause of it how- 
ever, has not been so well understood. Wortman knew, as well 



c 






as the inspectors, that the votes of these aliens would be chalisnc- 
ed : of this he conld not be ignorant ; but he was in hopes that 
the ardency he showed to confer the brotherly title of citizen upon 
them, would be certain means of rivetting forever their friendship 
to the Clinton family, which he on that occasion in a manner re- 
presented. The Mayor one of these days of citizen making, 
chanced to be half an hour longer than ordinary in opening the 
court. This, by the Cliiitonians, was asserted to be a trick of Pre- 
vost, the recorder, Mr. Burr's step-son, who by some manoeuvre 
or other, contrived to postpone the business : — for every accident 
that tended to procrastinate the making of citizens, even the 
want of stamp certificates, was thrown at the door of Mr. Pre- 
vost. 

About this period Mr. De Witt Clinton returned to New- 
York, having, no doubt, fully discussed, before he left Wash- 
ington, Mr. Burr's act of suppressing Adams' History. It was 
immediately upon his return, that Mr. Cheetham set about wri- 
ting the Narrative. This I should have thought myself bound to 
have concealed, had not the duplicity he has evinced in Warren's 
pamphlet, forced me to a public disclosure. Mr. Cheetham, be* 
fore Mr. De Witt's return, although he threw out a number of 
insinuations against the Vice-President, yet he cautiously re- 
frained from a fair attack until the arrival of his patron, whose 
broad wing he probably supposed a sufficient shield for every spe- 
cies of slander and falsehood. Whether Mr. Cheetham wrote all 
the Narrative, or what assistance he received from T)? Witt, 
Riker and Wortman, I know not — but certain it is, he told me 
he was the author — and equally certain I am of having seen him 
repeatedly employed at writing the manuscript ; but this, howe- 
ver, I shall discuss more fully when I come to speak of Warren's 
pamphlet ; but I must first, according to the plan I have laid 
down, describe the Society of the Columbian Uluminati, and 
their connection with the Clintonians. 

The schemes of those sects called llluroinati, have of late years 



[ 22 ] 

so much engaged the public attention, not only in Europe, but 
in America — and their views have been so fully discussed by wri- 
ters of every denomination, in books, pamphlets and newspapers,., 
that it would be deemed superfluous and unnecessary, were I 
here to enter into an elaborate investigation of the subject. It 
is proper, however, that I should deliver my opinion in a few 
•words, and in precise terms, of the real intentions of the Illumi- 
nati — having been accused more than once of an inconsistency in 
point of sentiment, respecting these secret societies. The hasty 
reader of my History of the Swiss Revolution, has said that I 
gave full credit to the stories of Robison and Barruel, and that 
I attributed to the Illuminati, the fatal disasters which have be- 
fallen the nations of Europe ; while in my letter, addressed to 
Judge Addison, of Pennsylvania, I have appeared inclined to look 
upon the relations of the French Jesuit and the Scotch Professor, 
only as tales, or the fabrications of artful men. But this is ai> 
inference made without either due consideration, or proper atten- 
tion to what I have written. In my History of Switzerland, if, 
the reader look to pages 300 and 301, he will perceive that I do. 
not attempt to give a decided opinion on the views of the Illumi~ 
nati, until the defence of Dr. Adam Weishaupt, the founder of 
the sect, should make its appearance. My words are, " This 
subject has already undergone a laborious investigation by two 
writers of extensive penetration and ingenuity, (the Abbe Barruel 
and Professor Robison) and as an answer to these gentlemen is 
now preparing by the principal leader of the accused party, (Dr. 
Adam Weishaupt) it is to be hoped the real agents and conspira- 
tors of the French revolution will soon be brought to light, that 
the world may know whether the disciples of Voltaire and 
D' Alembert, or the zealous partizans and pretended supporters of 
the christian faith, have been the greatest cause of French infideli- 
ty, and French republicanism." After the appearance of 
Weishaupt's defence, which was twelve months posterior to my 
publication of the History of Switzerland, and other tracts in vin- 
dication of the Illsminati printed in Germany, which I had an 






C 23 ] 

opportunity of perusing when in ..London, on my way to this 
country, I confess my opinion of those philosophic meetings was 
rather favourable than otherwise. The sentiments respecting 
them which I then entertained, are expressed in my letter to 
Judge Addison, and the authorities referred to on which I found- 
ed my opinion. But since writing that letter, such events have 
occurred on the continent of Europe, and such changes have ari- 
sen in the opinions of the philosophers of Germany, and several 
of the literati of Paris, who once advocated the cause of Illumi- 
natism, that it now appears to me, to be a subject, respecting 
which, we ought to decide with the greatest caution, and if pos- 
sible, to draw a middle line between the specious pretexts offered 
by Weishaupt in his defence, and the hasty charges of Robison 
and Barruel. The existence of a similar sect in New-York, which 
has been secretly established for upwards of three years, ought, 
however, to have the greatest weight in proving that there has 
been no small foundation for the plots reported by these writers. 

I am well aware, that Authors in general, are too frequently 
censured for not rigidly adhering to the tenets they first set out 
with, but no censure is more unjust and ridiculous — for it is im- 
possible that any writer on historical, political, or civil events, 
can assert the truth of what he states, with the same confidence 
as a mathematician can vouch for the accuracy of a proposition. 
The data of the latter are unalterable, and can neither be affect- 
ed by any power mortal or immortal ; but the data of the former, 
depend entirely upon the veracity of a few individuals, who if de- 
• tected in malice, caprice, or deceit, the literary fabric which has 
been built, tumbles to the ground, like a building raised on a 
watery soil, whose pillars are of no avail, when the slippery foun- 
dation once gives way. It is only a raind immersed in prejudice, 
and enveloped in ignorance, that wiy refuse to yield ideas, howe- 
ver long established, if formed from principles afterwards demon- 
strated to be incorrect. There can be no political or moral te- 
nets but which must submit to the test of experience. The period 
ef trial may be variable, according to chance or the nature of the 



t 24 1 

subject, and mankind in general, are sensible of this ; a foolish 
obstinacy, or selfish motives, alone prevent their candid confes- 
sion. 

The most violent jacobin in tbe United States, has, I am per- 
suaded, in the space of the last twelve months, at some interval 
or other, supposed a limited monarchy to be the best government 
under the sun ; while the most furious toiy, at some other mo- 
ment, may have desired a democracy. Even our President him- 
self, who, I trust, enjoys a portion of judgment much superior 
to that of any of his courtiers, has probably in secrecy, more than 
once blushed at the folly of his admirers, and would often have 
gladly dispensed with the servile compliments of his train. The 
grand political trial, as to the expediency of a sudden change in 
a government which has received the sanction of ages, appears in 
Europe to be now verging towards a close. The Aphelion of re- 
volutionary madness is passed, and a few years more will possibly 
bring mankind to that point in the circle of politics, from which 
they started, intoxicated with the metaphysics of Paine, and the 
dreams of Mirabeau. This in reality has been the question which 
for these ten years, has agitated the world, and not whether a 
monarchy or a republic is the wisest scheme of government — for 
if in the order of things, France had been for centuries an estaA 
blished republic, an attempt at monarchy would have produced 
the same fatal consequences as their recent struggles for liberty-. 
Two of the most powerful advocates for the revolutionary sys- 
tem, Mr. Intosh and Godwin, have already given up the contest, 
and their disciples, it may be supposed, will of course retract their 
opinions, and follow their masters. At any rate, in a country 
such as this, the people of which enjoy a constitution not formed 
by their ancestors, but by themselves, it is the duty of every 
prudent man, whatever might have been his former sentiments, 
now to take a warning from the fate of France, and to discourage 
every attempt which may be made to effect a change either in 
the men!, political, or religions sentiment? of the people. I 



know It is an idea too generally held among the deistical republi- 
cansofthe present day, that the constitution' of America has 
granted to all its citizen* an enjoyment of opinion in religious 
matters, unfettered either by the precepts of the Old Testa- 
ment, or the superior mandates of the Son of God. The Legis- 
latures of the different states have, however, wisely regarded that 
article of the constitution in its proper light, and while they allow 
the citizens an unrestrained liberty as to the form of worship, yet 
they prudently ordain a strict observance cf Sunday, justly sup- 
posing this to have been the spirit of the constitution, and the 
idea of its framers, who never dreamt that a species of beings, 
would spring up in America, like the savage brute, that Would 
acknowledge no divine superior, but only aim at glutting the ap- 
petites of hunger and lust. 

The society in New-York, which I am about to describe, was 
in fact a society of this nature, erected in rebellion to the reli- 
gious acts of the state. This will be proved from their constitu- 
tion, and the confession of several of the members. It was a so- 
ciety fraught with the blackest intentions, to overturn the divine 
revelation, and to raise the hand of opposition against the opinion 
©r every christian. Their scheme was not confined to the state 
of New- York, but following the example of the Illuminati in 
Europe, it will be seen from the ninth article of their printed con~ 
stitutioTij that they had corresponding committees, to propagate 
their new philosophy throughout the world. It may be answered 
to what I state, that from the low estimation in which most of 
the members of this society were held, by the majority of respect- 
able citizens in New- York, that their proceedings could have 
had no influence beyond the narrow and contemptible circle of 
their own acquaintances ; but it ought to be remembered, that 
some of the most lamentable revolutions in the world, have ari- 
sen from trifling causes and trifling actors. The Club of William 
Tell, in Switzerland, which was only composed of the lowest or- 

D 



I « i 

der of mechanics, laid the foundation for the easy conquest of that 
country by the French. This Club was, inmost respects, a par- 
allel of the theistical society of New- York. Their first institu- 
tion was merely a drunken meeting, to commemorate the memo- 
ry of the deliverer of Switzerland. From this arose a convivial 
Club, which met more frequently. Convivial cheerfulness pro- 
duced convivial arguments, until at length a regular debating so- 
ciety was formed ; although its members were ignorant of every 
law of logic, and every rule of rhetoric. In a little time they ad- 
vanced a degree farther, and assumed the title of the Philosophic 
Society of William Tell, upon the supposition that the peasant 
of Uri, must necessarily have been a philosopher, as well as a 
skilful archer. Their rude philosophy, as might be expected, 
lighted the road to jacobinism ; and in the space of a few years 
after their first organization, they had extended the horrors of 
their order, into the deepest recesses of the Alpine regions. 
There was not a city, a town, or a village of Switzerland, in the 
year 1792, which did not contain a society of Tellets. The 
dress they used in their Lodges, and the furniture of their halls, 
corresponded with their eharacter and their designs. These will 
appear incredible to any person who has not had the opportunity 
of witnessing their ceremonies, which like those of the Illuminati, 
were not kept secret ; for every member had the privilege, on or- 
dinary occasions, of introducing an acquaintance, and the first 
sight naturally afforded to a stranger an horrific surprise. The 
visitor was carried by his friend into an adjoining chamber, until 
his name was announced to the Club ; he was then introduced into 
a hall painted black, which was lighted by torches placed in 
standards, shaped into the form of human skulls.* The mam- 



* The tribunal at Geneva, in which Bousquet presided, in 1794, 
which condemned to death so many citizens, was of the order of 
the Tellets, and the ensigns of office were nearly the same : — See 
my History of Switzerland, page 339, as also the Animal Regis, 
terfvr 1795.. 



[ 27 ] 

fcers-w'ere seated round a long table, and were dressed in flowing 
garments of scarlet, the sleeves of which, were tucked up ; their 
breasts and legs were bare, and each man wore a small breast 
plate, the badge of the order, representing the story of Tcll> 
shooting the apple from the head of his son. ■ 

I have mentioned the Teliets in my history "of Switzerland 
(p. 309) but I have described them here mere particularly, to 
prepare the mind of the reader for similar scenes,- which have 
been acting for several years in the city cf New-York, by men 
with whom we are all acquainted, but -who have carefully conceal- 
ed their proceedings, even from their most intimate acquaintances. 
— This is no tale, no visionary dream or artful fabrication — Dr. 
Morse will have no occasion to write to foreign professors to ob- 
tain information as to the reality of the Illnminati — he will only 
have to write to the Mayor of New-York, to inferm him whether 
such menasEIihu Palmer, a blind preacher, and David Denniston, 
an editor of the American Citizen, are in existence, and it will be 
proved by me that the same Elihu Palmer and David Denniston, 
with many other zealous Glintonians, have been members of a so- 
ciety, first termed the Philosophical, and afterwards the Theisti- 
cal, for the avowed purpose of propagating Deism and opposing 
the christian religion. 

The origin of this society was, however, more systematical 
than either the Tellets of Switzerland, or any other perhaps cf the 
.description which has been established — It arose upon the ruins 
of the celebrated democratic society of New- York, in the same 
manner as the Illuminati originated from the remarkable Lodge 
of the Electic Masonry at Munich, called the Theodore of good 
council — it was composed of the scattered dregs of those Jacobin 
Infidels, who covered the democratic society with disgrace, and 
shed a degree of odium upon the pure doctrine of republicanism, 
which the efforts of the virtuous patriot, will not for years wipe 
away — it issued from the tomb of its fallen parent, like a foul spec 
t-re, blotted with crimes, gaping with vengeance, and eager todra| 



I 28 I 

the weak and unsuspicious mind into the. abyss of eternal tor- 
ment.— As the graceless son of a graceless family, most frequent- 
ly exerts all his ingenuity to complete the infamy of a ruined re* 
putation, so the members of the Theistical. Society, meditated 
upon every scheme to add die last reproach to their characters,-. 
already broken and despised. — The imported scum of the Edin- 
burgh Convention, and the refuse of the banished rebels of 
Ireland, joined also their hearts and hands with the Infidels of 
New-York, in planning this society. — It was in short a combina- 
tion of treachery, of indigence, of freiray, intemperance and every 
species of polluted baseness, for the purpose of combating religion,, 
virtue and wisdom. Among such a motly crew, one might sup- 
pose their resolutions would be marked with folly and ignorance j 
but this was not the case j for although all the Devils which is- 
sued from Pandora's box, may be supposed to have had a voice in 
their decrees ; yet it is to be remembered, that each of them had 
been previously exercised, for several years in similar schemes,, 
and therefore, knew how to gloss the blackest villainy under the 
specious veil of morality — They were no novices in this respect ; 
they were not stangers to the art of cunning or deceit. They 
were well acquainted, both how to make, and lay their traps, so as 
to be invisible to any eye, not tinged with suspicion— Like felon'u 
ous robbers, they associated with, feigned, and courted the habi- 
tudes of industry and religion during the day, that they might 
with more security in their nightly cabals, mangle the divine Rev- 
elation into a banquet of pleasure, and season the works of the 
Fathers, with the seeds of Epicurean philosophy. All their in- 
tercourse, all their actions and dealings were infectious. They 
were the hidden instruments of vice and torment ; like poison- 
ous plants, corrupted themselves and corrupting all about them. 

When I give this picture of the society, I do not pretend to 
say but what there were members to whom this character does not 
apply. I know there were several who were ensnared like harm- 
less flies in a spider's web, and were detained with no ether view 



[ 29 ] 

but to serre as a bait for the ignorant multitude. There were others 
again, who, at their first visit, started bach with the same horror as 
an innocent youth, when drawn by accident into a bagnio of dissi- 
pation — retreats, and confused with shame, conceals from his 
friends, the seat of wickedness which his eyes have witnessed. 
There were also among them, a few of those deluded minds, who, 
ignorant of the christian religion, are impressed with a prejudice 
against all its professors, but in other respects are good industri- 
ous citizens — Their weak imaginations were dazzled with the 
specious logic held forth to them, and they volunteered with the 
greatest zeal in what they believed a righteous cause, and of ser- 
vice to the community — They were told that the only intention 
of the Society was to oppose political and religious prejudice, to 
cultivate moral duties, and to bring mankind into a perfect state 
of liberty, equality, and happiness. This was the great object 
presented to the credulous pupil, as may be seen from the first 
article of their printed constitution, which the reader will present- 
ly peruse. But these well meaning members were kept apart, as 
will be proved, from the ringleaders — they were totally unacquaint- 
ed with their schemes — they imagined nothing was transacted 
but in their presence — they had no idea that there were different, 
grades in the society — they were ignorant of the diabolical plans 
■which were daily forming by the directors — they knew nothing 
about the proceedings of secret committees — they imagined there 
were none superior in knowledge or rank to themselves. Like 
honest simpletons, they thought all which they saw and heard, 
was for the public good. They, therefore, made no secret of 
communicating what they knew to their friends and acquaintances, 
they rather exhorted them to become members of the charitable 
institution, to partake of its blessings, and to be enlightened by 
the influence of its doctrines. 

Having now given a short sketch of the nature of the society 
which I call the Columbian Illuminati, though termed by its 
members the Theis:!cal, I shall proceed to shew my proofs for the 



C so ] 

existence of such a society, and give the names and characters of 
some of its leading members, with an account of their constitu- 
tion ; their connexion with the Temple of Reason, and the cause 
of their affection for the Clinton family. 

Although I have been in the habits of intimacy for these two 
years with several of the principal members, yet I never received 
the smallest hint of their institution ; so secret were they, in their 
communications to all persons who they had reason to believe 
were not deists. I have seen them, indeed, frequently exchange 
private signs, but imagined they were masonic. 

Societies of this nature would prebably, forever remain un- 
known, were all the members true to their oath of fidelity : but 
the propagation of deism, like that of treason, is a crime so hei- 
nous, that it generally sooner or later, awakens the consciences- 
of some of the actors, whose hearts are not altogether hardened in 
the deeds of iniquity. This was the case with two or three of the 
members of the Theistical Society : one young man in particular, 
a practitioner of physic, who had been educated in the principles 
of Christianity as taught by the Quakers, unfortunately became 
initiated in the mysteries of the Theistical society, (I ought not, 
however, to say unfortunately,) as he was one of the instruments 
by which their secrets became public. With all the ardor which 
a novel doctrine commonly inspires the mind of youth, he embra- 
ced their tenets and prosecuted the study of their philosophy, until 
he arrived at the honour of being elected a member of the highest 

grade He continued in this elevated and secret station for the 

period of one twelve month, exercising with keenness the differ- 
ent propositions which were presented to him for investigation 
by the President Palmer, and in instructing and preparing the 
minds of the minor pupils, who were placed under his care : Pro- 
vidence at last opened his eyes, and disclosed the road of error, 
•long which he was galloping to destruction, and with the same 
haste with which he mounted the pinnacle of ignorance, he de- 



[ 31 ] 

scended, and quickly regained with repentant steps, his former 
mode of worship. A proper and just zeal for Christianity, caused 
him to reveal the dark machinations which were plotting against 
the teachers of the gospel. This account I have had from a par- 
ticular friend of the young Quaker, but he expressed a desire that 
I should not publish his name. The Society, however, will easily 
recognize him, from the description that I have given. 

When the veil of secrecy was thus rent, several other members 
followed the example of the Quaker Doctor. Some were struck 
with the terror of loosing the small pittance which they earned by 
their daily labour, if their nightly proceedings were known, and 
they, therefore, hastened to rid themselves of the part which they 
.acted. Others again, of the well meaning members, took the op- 
portunity in order to vindicate their characters, of giving a candid 
statement of what they knew to their friends. Among the lat- 
ter, were Mr. George Baron, a respectable mathematical teach- 
er in New- York, and a Mr. Carver, of Cedar street. It is, how- 
ever, a justice which I owe both to Mr. Baron and Mr. Carver, 
to declare that the facts which I am going to relate, were previous- 
ly communicated to me by others, and were only corroborated 
by their testimony. 

Mr. Baron confirmed what I had heard from several others, 
that the society, after the example of the Illuminati, were divid- 
ed into three or more grades ; but that the members of the first 
grade were ignorant of any others but themselves ; that the mem- 
bers of the second grade thought that they themselves were the 
highest, and concealed with the same caution their proceedings from 
their junior Brethren, who may be termed the minervals, as the 
latter hid their designs from the public. The third grade kept also 
secret their proceedings from the first and second, but all the three 
communicated with the President, who was Mr. Elihu Palmer, 
the Weishaupt of the order. 

The Presidents and all the different grades, were accustomed 



£ 32 ] 

to meet on stated evenings, in the same room, where business 
■was transacted as if they were memb< rs of the same rank and de- 
gree of information. It was utterly impossible that any min- 
crval could guess, from what was said or done at the general 
meeting, that there was any other independent association formed 
among particular members. The proceedings of these evenings, 
consisted principally in metaphysical discussions, and decisions of 
questions proposed by the President, or some of the members. 
These questions were, with some few exceptions, no otherwise 
criminal than as being opposed to the divine revelation, and cal- 
culated to throw an^appearance of ridicule on every thing christian. 
Those questions which were of a more serious nature, and a deep- 
er and blacker complexion were reserved to the meetings of the 
individual grades, which met separately at Palmer's house, as the 
scheme would have been immediately detected by some of the 
junior members, had they convened in the public room of ren- 
devous. 

Palmer's Principles of Nature, was the text book to all the 
jnembers ; and it was put into the hands of every minerval at his 
first entrance. Before the book itself was printed, detached 
parts of it were given to the members of the higher grades in man- 
uscript, with particular orders how to use it. The general meet- 
ing had a treasurer and a secretary ; Mr. Carver was the treasurer, 
but he appears to be entirely ignorant of the superior grades ; he was 
only a minerval, and was quite amazed when Mr. Baron spoke to 
him, in my own hearing, about the oath which was taken by the 
superior grades, as the minervals only gave a simple promise of 

■ secrecy. But the superior grades had separate oaths and sepa- 
rate constitutions. Mr. Baron stated that the oath of the grade 

'to which he was admitted, was expressed in nearly the same 
words which Professor Robison gives in his history of Illu- 

■ minatism, with the single exception of the word religion, which 
was omitted, and he supposes it must have been copied from Robi- 
son':; book — but of this he is not certain ; he only recollects that 



t 33 1 

when it was presented to him to take, he thought so. Mr. Baron, 
however, ingeniously got that part of the ceremony waved, by 
entering into a mathematical dispute with David Denniston, 
which so much attracted the attention of President Palmer, that 
he afterwards forgot to administer it. 

The oath of the Illuminati here alluded to, is to be found in 
the 95th page of the New- York edition of Robison's Conspiracy. 
It is as follows : " I N, N. hereby bind myself, by mine honor 
and good name, forswearing all mental reservation, never to re- 
veal, by hint, word, writing, or in any manner whatever, even 
to my most trusted friend, any thing that shall now be said to me 
respecting my wished for reception, and this whether my recep- 
tion shall follow or not ; I being previously assured, that it shall 
contain nothing contrary to religion, the state, nor good man- 
ners. I promise that I shall make no intelligible extract from 
any papers, which shall be shewn me, now or during my noviciate. 
All this I swear, as I am, and as I hope to continue, a man of 
honour.'' 

Mr. Baron and several others, have assured me, that when the 
minerval took this oath, he went up to the President Palmer, who 
whispered certain sentences in his ear ; what these were, as Mr. 
Baron had not taken the oath himself, he does not know, and my 
other informers said they were bound under the strictest ties * 
honour never to reveal them. Mr. Baron says the reason Mr. 
Palmer whispered them in a low voice, ana not in the hearing 
of the society, was the fear of some discovery being made at a fu- 
ture period, of their proceedings. Mr. Baron, however, supposes 
that they related to the real intention of the society, and afforded 
an explanation of the articles in the constitution ; that in short, 
the new made minerval was informed he was to consider himself 
as the perpetual enemy not only of christianitv, but of every 
christian j that he was forever to reneunce all form of govern- 
ment but what wzs strictly dernocratieal ; that on no consider;.: - 

E 



C 34 ] 

tion hew as to afford support or assistance to any person, relation, 
or acquaintance, who professed any mode of divine worship, or 
who advocated any system of government, different from a pure 

democracy. 

The printed constitution of all the grades assembled, I receiv- 
ed from Mr. Carver, the treasurer, for the purpose of publishing. 
Mr. Carver, I have already mentioned, is a well meaning, but 
unfortunately an enthusiast in the cause which he has undertaken. 
He informed me they had also another constitution in manuscript, 
but that it was kept secret, and he blamed extremely some of the 
members, particularly Mr. John Sidell, who he was informed 
was in the practice of sporting with its contents. The following is 
a copy of the printed constitution, and the articles which it con- 
tains, the reader cannot but perceive they are strict imitations of 
the rules laid down in Robison's book. It would, in fact, havebeen 
impossible for any man to have drawn up a constitution, so similar 
to the constitution of the Illuminati, without having the latter 
in view. 

« CONSTITUTION 

OF THE 

THEISTICAL SOCIETY, 

OF 

N E W-Y O R K : 
" Agreed upon January, 26th year of American Independence.'' 

1st. " The object of this society is to promote the cause of 
moral science, and general improvement, in opposition to all 
schemes of religious and political imposture.'' 

2d. " The accomplishment of this object must depend upon 
the views and disposition of the society, and be regulated by its 
votes at their respective meetings." 

3.1. " No person shall be admitted into this society, unless he 
be recommended by a member thereof, as a person of good moral 



C W ] 

Character, and unequivocally attached to the objects of this insti- 
tution, and be voted in by the majority ; and, in all cases of im- 
proper conduct, the right of expulsion shall be vested in the socie-* 
ty, and every person on becoming a member of this society, shall 
subscribe his name to the constitution." 

4th. M The society shall by nomination and vote, appoint a 
President to preside at each meeting.'' 

5th. A treasurer shall be appointed for the term of six months, 
•who shall receive all monies, and account for the same to the 
society." 

6th. " A secretary shall be appointed every six months, whose 
duty it shall bs to record such proceedings as the society bhail 
think proper.'' 

7th. " The society shall meet at such time and place, as the 
majority shall direct.'* 

8th. " Each member of the society shall pay into the hands of 
the treasurer, on each meeting, six cents ; and the funds arising 
from this source shall be disposed of by the -will of the majori- 
ty." 

9th. " A corresponding committee shall be annually appointed 
to communicate v^ith other societies of the like nature.'' 

10th. " Each member of the society shall observe order and 
decorum during the time of meeting, and cultivate a spirit of 
friendly and philosophical intercourse." 

With regard to the first article, little doubt can be entertained 
of the sense in which the society understood the phrase " reli- 
gious and political imposture.'' Mr. Palmer the President, is a 
professed preacher of deistical tenets, and all the members of the 
society, Mr. Carver and Mr. Baron, who are of like principles, as- 
sured mc that none could be admitted, who acknowledged a be- 



i 36 ] 

lief in Christianity. The term religious imposture, can, therefore*, 
mean nothing else but the doctrine of divine revelation. The 
members, I am informed, were also avowed supporters of democ- 
racy. Political imposture must of course, signify every form of 
government not purely democratic'al. Here, therefore, was a socie- 
ty erected in one of the principal cities of the United States, the 
members of which, by the first article of their public constitution, 
were declared enemies to all religions and all governments, not 
conformable to the whimsical jacobinism of Paine, and the wild 
philosophy of his dbciple blind Palmer ; one of the principal 
members of this society, was David Denniston, the editor 
of the American citizen, the friend of* the pious divines Osgood 
snd M'Knight, and the cousin of Mr. De Witt Clinton. I may 
be censured for making thus free with the name of Dr. M'Knight j 
but how is it possible to judge of the principles of men but from 
the company they keep, and the persons Avhom they patronize ? 
If Dr. M'Knight will come forward and disavow all further con- 
nexion with Denniston and the American Citizen, and profess an 
entire ignorance of the secret society, in which Denniston has 
been engaged, then every christian will most readily acquit him 
of any intentional injury to the divine cause of Revelation ; but if 
on the other hand,Dr. M'Knight persevere in giving countenance- 
to this contemptible tool of infidelity, must not every good christian 
and rational man regard him as a wolf in sheep's clothing, and 
class him among those priests of hypocrisy, who have injured mo- 
rality and eligion more than either the bigot of superstition, or 
the philoso. her ol scepticism. 

How similar are the sentiments in the 1st. 2d. and 3d. articles, 
♦o those of Weishaupt in his account of the association of the II- 
luminati ; they breathe the same spirit and delusive ideas. " Our 
secret association, says Weishaupt, (Robison, page 92) works 
in a way that nothing can withstand, and man shall soon be free 
and happy." "And what is this general object, the happiness 
of the human race ? Is it not distressing to a generous mind, after 



[ 37 ] 

contemplating what human nature is capable of, to see how little 
we enjoy ? When we look at this goodly world, and see that 
every man may be happy, but that the happiness of one depends 
on the conduct of another ; when we see the wicked so powerful, 
and the good so weak, and that it is in vain to strive, singly 
and alone, against the general current of vice and oppression, the 
wish naturally arises in the mind, that it were possible to form a 
durable combination of the most worthy persons, who should 
walk together in removing the obstacles to human happiness, be- 
come terrible to the wicked, and give their aid to all the good 
without distinction ; and should by the most powerful means, first 
fetter, and by fettering - , lessen vice— means, which at the same 
time, should promote virtue, by rendering the inclination to rec- 
titude, hitherto too feeble, more powerful and engaging : Would 
not such an association be a blessing to the world ?" Palmer un- 
derstood well the effect of this cant of Weishaupt's and accord- 
ly adopted it in the public constitution. 

The fourth article, which orders that the society shall by nomi- 
nation appoint a President each meeting, may appear inconsistent 
with what I have stated respecting Palmer, whom I have observed, 
was always their President. But this article only alludes to the 
election of the acting President for the night, in the event of Pal- 
mer's absence. This form of constitution was drawn up on pur- 
pose to shew the public eye, in case any suspicions of their real 
proceedings should get abroad, in the same manner as Weishaupt 
drew up a constitution for the Uluminati to be exhibited, breath- 
ing nothing but religion and morality. The name of Palmer, who 
is known every where to be a deist, was carefully omitted by the 
Theistical society. Several others, as well as Mr. Baron, have 
informed me that the manuscripts, or secret constitutions of the 
several grades, contained the most bitter invective which ever was 
penned, against every species of religion, and expressly bound 
every member to renounce all form of worship whatever. 



t 38 3 

The corresponding committee, established by the ninth article^ 
I am informed, carried on a continued correspondence with the se- 
veral states in the Union, with Britain, and with France. Mr. Ba- 
ron agreed as to the truth of a report, which I heard ; that this 
committee sent an address about ten months since, to Thomas 
Paine, at Paris, along with a copy of Palmer's Principles of na- 
ture, to which they received a polite and encouraging epistle in 
answer, exhorting them to persevere in their proceedings, and that 
he would soon be over to America himself, where he trusted he 
should be suffered to spend the remainder of his days, in their com* 
pany. The letter and book I believe, were sent by chancellor Li- 
vingston ; but of this, Mr. Baron and my other informers, are not 
certain. Paine's answer was addressed to the President, Palmer, 
and was perused by Mr. Carver. 

The last article, ordering an observance of decorum in the soci- 
ety, during the time of meeting, was extremely necessary, if we 
consider the temper of many of the characters, of which it was 
composed — This article was the one, most frequently violated. — 
A young man, an attorney, lately promoted to a lucrative office, 
in New-York, by means of the Clintonian interest, and whose 
name I would expose, were it not for a regard to the feelings of 
his family, was particularly riotous and obscene in his conversa- 
tions One evening he was the cause of entirely breaking up the 

meeting by a frolic he acted, which I shall relate for no other pur- 
pose, but to shew the brutish irregularity which sometimes was 
carried on among them, notwithstanding their pretended regard 
for decency, and the awe the presence of the philosophic Palmer 
might be supposed to inspire. A bald headed Caledonian, once 
an orator in the Edinburgh convention, though now in America, 
forced to stroll about, to teach wh— s to dance and negroes to fid- 
dle, rose with majestic gravity, in order to argue with David 
Denniston, the impropriety of having a president or superior in 
their society. In the depth of his argument, an unlucky spider, 
like Pindar's louse, dropped " with legs wide sprawling" on the in- 



[ 39 ] 

fidd's head. — The young attorney in eager anxiety to rescue I1T3 
brother, from the insect's venom, snatched the staff of aathority 
which Palmer held, but not being a skilful marksman, in place of 
destroying the little tenant of the loom, he knocked the fiddler 
down — The confusion which ensued, may be easier conceived 
than described. It was in vain that the attorney protested the 
innocence of his intentions ; it was ir; vain that his friend, a mea- 
ger looking watchmaker, advocated his cause. The blind Presi- 
dent at length, descended from his seat, cursing and groping a- 
raong his noisy pupils, and commanded David Denniston to en- 
force order ; but David's exertions were to no purpose ; and the 
Illuaiinati, were obliged to lay aside all moral discussion for the 
evening. 

The punishment inflicted upon members for such offences, were 
most frequently pecuniary fines ; but sometimes marks of disgrace 
were devised. — This young attorney, for his unruly behaviour, 
is reported to have been more than once condemned to walk the 
streets for ten days, with his beard unshaven — His acquaintances, 
who were not in the secret, used to be astonished at the slovenly 
appearance which he sometimes exhibited, but never conjectured 
that he was performing penance to the Illuminati. 

Several of the questions proposed for decision were truly dis- 
gusting, and prove that they had studied with some attention, 
the secret correspondence of Weishaupt, as related by Robison, 
which sanctions the vilest lust. The philosophic Barber, to whom 
Mr. De Witt Clinton paid his respects, with the gravest counte- 
nance, proposed one evening, the following question : " Wherein 
does the moral turpitude_ of incest consist V How this important 
proposition was decided I know not ; but it is probable, from the 
example of their German brethren, that no turpitude v;as assigned 
to the act. 

A gross argument, abounding with profane expression, aro?? 
e:ie night upon the following words, u ought the mQUGOmmqalj 



C 40 ] 

called Jesus Christ, to be regarded a bastard or the sort of Jo- 
seph ?'' These questions with their decisions, Mr. Baron informs 
me, were never entered on their books, for fear of detection. 

The President Palmer gave out for an importaut debate in one 
of their meetings, the following interesting querie : " Whether 
would the practice of going in all weathers and seasons, bald 
headed and uncovered, be more conducive to mental knowledge, 
than the ordinary habit of wearing hair and hats ?" The philoso- 
phic Barber, it might be supposed, on account of his profession, 
would have advocated the wearing of hair ; but either a more 
powerful regard for the mind, or the practice of sharing, induced 
him, it is said, to make a speech of three hours in length, both 
against hair and hats. All the other members, however, with 
the exception of a Taylor, supported their curls and locks, with 
the same zeal as the cooks of his British Majesty did the honour of 
their heads. 

Among these various questions, one really philosophical was 
one night proposed. This was, " supposing the earth was perfo- 
rated from one side to the other, required the effect of a stone or 
ball dropped into the perforation ?" This question having puzzled 
both the brains of Palmer and the deep minded Denniston, was 
obliged to be submitted to the decison of Mr. Baron, the only 
mathematician among them. 

These incidents which I have related, would appear romantic 
and scarcely deserving credit, were there not several members 
who willingly will vouch for the truth of them. Mr. Baron was 
present when they all took place — but it is t© be remembered, he 
was not my first informer : he only confirmed what was related 
by others. 

One great object with the society, was the propagation of books 
suitable to their principles in politics and infidelity. The works 
of Paine met their approbation ; but they thought that some of 
the members were capable of producing works that would answer 



i a 1 

<he purpose still better. The President Palmer was unanimously 
chosen to compose a system of Deism, which he accordingly did, 
and entitled it, The Principles of Nature. I have stated the cir- 
cumstance of their sending a Copy of this book to Paine, and the 
gracious answer which he returned. I am informed, a very lengthy 
address was also sent along with a copy to Mr. Jefferson ; but I 
have not had an opportunity of perusing the answer which they re- 
ceived from the President of the United States. The philosophic 
Barber undertook the task of forming a political tract, which he 
called an Essay on the Liberty of the Press. He dispatched a 
copy of the work Immediately, when fimshed, to Monticello, and 
received a letter from Mr. Jefferson, complimenting him highly 
on the production, and expressing at the same time, his satisfac- 
tion, that the United States were blessed with such authors, or 
words to that purpose. He had another copy given to Mr. Burr, 
but the Vice-President did not condescend to take the same no- 
tice of the book as Mr. Jefferson did ; although the author says 
it was delivered into his hands, in the utmost style of ceremonial 
politeness, by William Temple Broome, Esq. late a Notary in 
New- York, a gentleman who even excelled the little deputy at* 
torney general in tiptoe scraping, courteous smiling, and fashions- 
able grimace. 

But the grand literary journal set in motion by the Columbian 
Illuminati, was the Temple of Reason. This far exceeded any 
production of the kind ever attempted. Its mode of publication, 
which is weekly, was also supposed would have a much better ef- 
fect than sending forth to the world a finished system, however 
artfully executed. They compared its power in this respect, to 
the superiority that a continued attack has generally over a mo-? 
mentary shock, which, though given with greater violt-nce^ soon 
expires, and only causes the object intended to be destroye to 
be fortified with greater strength and judgment than before. Thj| 
instrument they fixed upon for the execution of their project, was 
one Driscoll, an Irishman, then newly arrived in America ; and if 



C 42 ] 

they had searched all the cells of jacobin Imposture in Paris of 
Dublin, they could not have found a more proper person for their 
purpose. This Driscoll was, only a few years since, a Romish 
Priest, and possessed all the Jesuitical cunning which the apos- 
tates from that order generally do. The first difficulty which 
presented itself in putting the scheme in execution, was the want 
of money — for the Illuminati were more deficient in that wordly 
evil, than any other. Cheetham is said to have made the friend- 
ly offer of being Driscoll's security for the purchase of types. 
Whether Cheetham was a member of the Theistical society or 
Columbian Illuminati, is a circumstance, the certainty of which 
I have not been able to ascertain. Mr. Baron thinks he belong- 
ed to the highest grade, and never made his appearance in the 
general assembly, but of this he is not positive. He says in 
some conversation which he has had with Mr. Cheetham, the 
latter always expressed a dread that the proceedings of the society 
would, in time, become public, which event would be extremely 
injurious to the characters af those concerned — He also insinuat- 
ed, (Mr. Baron says) that on account of a defect which he has 
in hearing, it would be impossible for him to understand the se- 
cret injunction whispered by President Palmer, after the adminis- 
tration of the oath. This editor of the Citizen, is more cautious 
in his actions than his partner Denniston ; and although I believe 
him to be infinitely more criminal in every respect, than any one 
of the Clintonian faction, II ike r and Wortman excepted, yet it 
is much more difficult to trace the secret springs on which he 
moves ; in place of the vulgar stupidity which unveils the pro- 
jects of Denniston's brain, Cheetham's possesses all the' cunning 
of an artful prostitute, that under a placid countenance, masks deep 
designs and plotting vengeance. 

tieetham, however, as well as Denniston, betrayed nimselfia 
Jne act, which very nearly sunk the American Citizen in the eyes 
ol his christian subscribers— This was the enclosing of Driscoll's 



( 43 ) 

fcand-bills, within those copies of the American Citizen, which wer,$ 
intended for the subscribers, supposed to be deists ; but the paper 
carrier not being versed in the principles of his several customers, 
(unluckily for Denniston and Cheetham,) distributed as many of tie 
infidel Advertisements among christians as deists. — An apology^ 
however, for the unholy deed, was, I believe, made by the editois, 
as soon as they became acquainted with the circumstance. 

After the temple of reason was set on foot, and had the appear- 
ance of being in a flourishing condition, the Illuminati began to 
be jealous, that all the profits of the work would be monopolised^ 
by Driscoll. — They remonstrated with the apostate Priest, on the 
reasonable propriety of allowing the funds of the society, at least 
one half of the profits — They reminded him, that he was taken 
into their service, with scarcely a shirt to his back ; that they 
clothed him in a decent garb, and placed him in a most respecta- 
ble situation ; that without their assistance, he probably would 
have been reduced to the necessity of again humming mass to a 
few Superstitious Irish maids. — But Driscoll was too long a Jesuit 
not to have a more powerful regard for personal emolument, than 
the enriching of any society under the sun. — He discovered that 
the number of deists who were not Illuminati were more numerous 
than those who were ; and although, perhaps, the opposition which 
he would meet from the Theistical society, would prevent his suc- 
ceeding in New-York, yet there were ether towHs in America 
which contained deists also. — He accordingly repaired to Phila- 
delphia, and established histemple of reason in that city 5 under the 
auspices of the friends of Mr. William Duane. — The Columbian 
Illuminati, perceiving the impossibility of persuading Driscoll to 
a compliance with their demands, judged it most expedient, for the 
success of their object, to compromise matters with him. — 
They accordingly allowed him the full enjoyment of the emolu- 
ments of his paper, and empowered him besides, to make converts, 
and establish a similar society in Philadelphia ; which the artful 
Priest soon accomplished.— Thus Illumination progressed fronr 



( 44 > 

New-York to Philadelphia ; but here it was not to stop.~A so* 
ciety of deists on like principles, was established in a few months, 
at Baltimore ; but both it and the Philadelphia society, I am in- 
formed, hold constitutional patents, of the Theistical society of 
New- York. 

A deistical society on the principles of the Illuminati, I can with- 
eonfidence assert, has been established within the last two years, 
at Edinburgh, in Scotland, the members of which, correspond re- 
gularly with the members of the Theistical society — But whether 
it was established independent of the New-York society, or under 
their directions,! know iidU-*I rathe? imagine, it was instituted 
by the means of one Donaldson, who was a member of the Theisti- 
cal society at its first institution, but afterwards returned to Edin- 
burgh, his native town, as I find a person of the same name, is se- 
cretary to the society at Edinburgh-^-The names of the two lead- 
ing men in the Edinburgh society, are, George Paton and Alexan- 
der Campbell— The former is celebrated as being the first penman 
in Scotland ; but the latter, is only known, as the author of a 
Contemptible performance, called the history of Scotch poetry* 
This Campbell is no relation to the elegant author of the Plea- 
sures of Hope i although they profess the same principles in poli- 
tics, yet their manners in other respects, are as different as then? 
merits. 

Anothergreat point with the Theistical society of New-York, in 
common with the Illuminati of Germany, was to endeavour, if pos-r 
sible, to g t all the public offices in the United States, filled with 
deists. — The readers of Robinson's books, will recollect, how 
zealous the German Illuminati were in this respect " According- 
ly (says Robinson, Page 105) the order laboured in this, with 
great zeal and success ^— A correspondence ^was discovered, in 
•which it is plain, that by their influence, one of the greatest eccle- 
siastical dignities was filled up, in opposition to the right and au- 
thority of the Archbishop of Spire, who is there represented as a 
tyrannical and biggotted Priest — They contrived to place their 



t 45 ] 

members as tutors to the youth of distinction — One of them, Ea* 
*on Leuchtsenring took charge of a young prince, without any 
salary— They insinuated themselves into all public offices, and par- 
ticularly into courts of justice. In like manner, the chairs in the 
university of Ingolstadt were (with only two exceptions) occupied 
by Illuminati." The number of members in the list of the Theis* 
tical society of New-York, which 1 have, amounts to ninety-five ; 1 
would give their names, but this would serve no purpose, and on- 
ly expose their families, perhaps, to misery ; every one of them, 
however, without exception, is in politics a Clintonian, and seve- 
ral of them have been promoted to offices by the Clinton interest* 
Their love for Mr. De Witt Clinton, proceeds in a great measure 
from an idea that he is a deist ; whether he is so or not, it is im- 
possible for me to decide ; it is enough that they think so, and on 
that supposition they will almost hazard their lives in his hehalf. 
One thing, however, is certain, that Mr. Clinton has afforded 
his patronage to several who were avowed deists, and he has even 
been the means of displacing christians, to make room for deists. 
The present agent for the Temple of Reason, in New-York, is 
well known to be indebted to Mr. Clinton for the lucrative situa- 
tion in the mercantile line, which he at present enjoys. One of 
the members of the legislature of that state, who was foisted in by 
the Clinton interest, is an avowed supporter and hearer of the Pre- 
sident Palmer j and for ou^ht I know, also a member of the high- 
est grade among the Illuminati ; for there were several, Mr. 
Baron tells me, who belonged to the highest grade, that never met 
in the general convention* 

The oath taken by the directors in the highest grade, was near- 
ly the same with the oath administered to the minerval amon°- 
the Illuminati, when he became an Illuminatus minor, and must, 
without doubt, have been copied from it.— It was reported to me 
in these words.— 

" I a member of the Theistical society, protest before you* the 



[ 46 ] 

■worthy President of our order, that I acknowledge my natural 
■weakness and inability, and that I, with all my possessions, ran ley 
honours, and titles which I held in political society, am at bot- 
tom only a man ; I can enjoy these things only through my fel- 
low men, and through them also I may love them, The approba- 
tion and consideration of my fejlow men are indispensably neces- 
sary, and I must try to maintain them by all my talents. These 
I will never use to the prejudice of universal good, but will op- 
pose, with all my might, the enemies of the human race, and of 
political society, I will embrace every opportunity of serving 
mankind, by improving my understanding and my affections, 
and by imparting all important knowledge, as the good, and 
statutes of this order require of me. I bind mvself to perpetual 
silence, and unshaken loyalty, and submission to the order, in the 
person of our President, here making a faithful and complete sur- 
render of my private judgment, my own will and every narrow 
minded employment of my power and influence. I pledge myself 
to account the good of the order as my own, and am ready to 
serve it with my fortune, my honour and my blood. Should I 
through omission, neglect, passion, or wickedness, behave contrary 
to this good of the order, I subject myself to what reproof or 
punishment our President shall enjoin. The friends and enemies 
of the order shall be my friends and enemies — and with respect to 
both, I will conduct myself as directed by the order, and am rea- 
dy in every lawful way, to devote myself to its increase and pro- 
motion, and therein to employ all my ability, i^ll this I promise 
and protest, without secret reservation, according to the inten- 
tion of the society which require from me this engagement. This 
I do as I am, and as I hope to continue a man of honour."* 

The directors and the members of the highest grade, used to 
employ themselves in composing essays for the instruction of the 



* This document I received the last time I was in New-York, 
when, the pamphlet was nearly compleated. But I had it from art 
authority which the reader, I think, may rely on. 



t 4r ] 

fccw made members. But after the example of the German Illti- . 
minati, they adopted fictitious names. I am informed that Pal- 
mer called himself Weishaupt ; the young attorney who knocked 
the Fiddler down, adopted the name of Counsellor Zuack ; that 
David Denniston was styled Coriolanus ; Taylor Sidell Cicero, 
and the philosophic Barber Gardenston. 

Before I take my leave of the New-*¥ork Illuminati, I shall 
relate a scheme they contrived in order to promote the circwla- 
tion of the Temple of Reason. They were afraid that its circula- 
tion would be confined to the deists alone, and this would be ac- 
complishing but a trifling part of their object : the great point was 
to circulate it among the christians. They, therefore, thought 
if some good pious literary character could be prevailed upon to 
start a paper in opposition to the Temple of Reason, in defence of 
Christianity, it would be the means of having them both read, 
and they had too much confidence in their own abilities, not to 
suppose that the arguments brought forward in the Temple of 
Reason, would quickly overcome what they called the pedantic- 
bigotry of a christian divine. Accordingly, a committee was 
fixed upon to wait individually upon a Mr. Donald Frazer, a 
christian teacher in New-York, who has gained some popularity 
by his opposition to Paine's Age of Reason. Mr. Barcn inform- 
ed me he was one of this committee, and that he used all his logic 
with Mr. Fraser, to persuade him to commence a christian paper, 
which he advised him to call either the Temple of Christ, or the 
Temph of Truth — he stated to Mr. Fraser the many advantages 
which would arise to Christianity from such a publication, andtho 
eminent hazard the christian religion would necessarily be in, 
from the influence of the Temple of Reason, unless such a plan 
were adopted. Mr. Baron also urged other motives, which never 
fail to have some effect, even with the most indifferent mortal ; 
these were the pecuniar)' emolument which would arise from the 
sale of the paper, and the laudable praise which he would receive 
from all his christian brethren. Bv thcrj;* powerful arguments on 
the part of Mr. Baron, it h a certain fact, fchat Mr. Fraser was 



[ 43 ] 

at length prevailed upon to set on foot a defence for Christianity,' 
and even went so far as to arrange matters with a bookseller for 
that purpose ; and the Temple of Christ would, without doubt, 
have made its appearance from the pen of Mr. Fraser, had not 
one of Mr. Fraser's friends, who received some hints of the scheme 
of the Illuminati, dissuaded him from it. The truth of this cir- 
cumstance, Mr. Fraser, as well as Mr. Baron, will attest. 

I have now related the origin and progress of Illuminatism in 
this country. It arose, the reader will perceive, upon the ruins 
of the democratical society ; it first exhibited itself in the form of 
a philosophical club, then assumed the more metaphysical appel- 
lation of the Theistical society, divided itself into different grades 
and orders, after the example of the institution of Weishaupt, 
bad separate constitutions and separate oaths, appropriate to the 
several grades. They had also pass words, which I forgot to 
state. Mr. Baron says the pass word in the general convention, 
was truth. After the example of the German Illuminati, they 
also established publieations for the express purpose of dissemina- 
ting their principles ; they sent copies of these publications to 
Paine at Paris, and to the President of the United States. By 
means of a corresponding committee, similar societies were esta- 
blished in the different cities of America. Their principles in po- 
litics, corresponded with their ideas of religion, viz. the rankest 
jacobinism, with the vilest deism. They all attached themselves 
to the interest of Mr. De Witt Clinton, judging, probably, by a 
knowledge of his cousin Denniston, that he would be favourable 
to their cause, and Mr. Clinton, in return, appears not to be un- 
grateful. He has been the means of displacing several worthy 
christians, to make way for them; and he bestows in bountiful 
measure, all his patronage to support their political paper, the 
American Citizen. Nothing can prove more distinctly the mutu- 
al affection and sympathy which exist'between Mr. Clinton and 
the Columbian Tlluminati, than these acts of kindness. The link 
which connects the infidels of New-York with the Clinton family, 
niujt now be obvious, and the ardent zeal which is displayed tfli 



T 49 3 

promote the greatness of that family. The Columbian Illuminati 
are not to be despised, although there are no principal characters 
among them. They are to be dreaded, and every good christian 
ought to use his exertions to crush their endeavours. In the 
words of Robison, " their torch, though of the grossest material', 
darts with a horrid glare into every corner, rousing hundreds of 
filthy vermin, and directing their flight to the rotten carrion, 
where they can best deposit their poison, and their eggs, in the 
breasts, to wit, of the sensual and profligate, there to fester and 
burst forth in a new and filthy progeny." 

It only now remains, that I should observe the pamphlet which 
has been written in answer to my correct statement, under the 
fictitious signature of Warren, with the characters which the 
same Warren has thought proper to call to his aid as certificate 
men, and to hold forth to the world as the principal witnesses of 
the criminality of Mr. Burr. As Mr. Warren appears solicitous 
that his pamphlet should be regarded as a specific remedy for the 
vices of the Clintonian family, I would recommend to him, when 
he issues a second edition, that either Mr. De Witt Clinton, or 
his friend Dr. Ledyard, certify upon the title page, the admirable 
virtue contained in the Antidote ; for so many spurious medicines 
have of late been imposed upon the public, that unless some per- 
son of honor and veracity attest their efficacy, they pass unnoticed 
and disregarded. 

Waving, however, this objection, for the present, I shall con- 
sider the Antidote as having previous to its composition, been in- 
spected by the discriminating organs of Di. Ledyard, and Mr. Di 
Witt Clinton ; I shall even allow, that the deputy attorney gene-. 
ral, has exerted all his ingenuity in preparing an agreeable odour 
for the wonderful drug. I shall admit that the pondering mind 
of Wortman has had a part in compounding the delicious bitter 
which it contains, and that the sturdy muscles of the Citizen EdU 
tor have been fatigued for weeks together in its manufacture- — n gr 



[50 1 

shall I refuse the supposition, that when finished, it received the 
divine benedictions of Osgood and M'Knight. But I will insist, 
notwithstanding, to have the liberty of analyzing both the acids 
and alkalis it contains ; and if, after a deliberate investigation, 
the component materials appear to belong to no physical class in. 
mture, that the Antidote be rejected as unworthy the attention, 
of any but the credulous patients of impostures and quacks. 

It would be absurd to attempt to refute all the jargon which 
this pamphleteer has advanced in the three first pages of his poison. 
I shall, however, answer one remark there stated. He asserts 
that I am unworthy of notice, because I am a stranger in the 
land, unacquainted with its-history, habits, and institutions. Had 
I related any other circumstances than those in which I acted my- 
self a principal part, the observation would have been in some de- 
gree a justifiable one ; but when my pamphlet was only intended 
as a correct statement of a business in which I was personally con- 
cerned, and which was misrepresented by the Narrative writer^ 
I certainly had a preferable claim for credit, to a person who 
wrote from information received from a secondary source ; but 
even allowing we stood on an equal footing in this respect, I be- 
lieve I may safely assert, without incurring a charge of vanity, 
that the Narrative writer can lay no greater claim to an acquaint- 
ance with the history, habits and institutions of America, than I 
can do myself. He may, perhaps, presume upon a three years 
longer residence in the states ; he may affirm that he is more gen- 
erally known in the sixth and seventh wards of New-York, and 
he may strengthen his argument, by relating that he has had the 
honour of dining at Mr. Jefferson's table, and of privately inspect- 
ing two letters, which were intended for the post-office. These 
are circumstances, I confess, in which he has the advantage of 
me ; but they are incidents of such a nature, as will never reuse 
my ambition, or provoke a desire of rivalship* 

"The next circumstance worthy of notice, in Warren's produc- 
tion, is the artful tale which he has. contrived to account for Mr. 



c w ] 

Ward not publishing my first statement of the suppression. The 
particulars of this circumstance are very short.. Mr. Ward, up- 
on first reading the advertisement in the newspaper, previous tq 
its publication, supposed it a matter of justice due to all concern- 
ed, that a correct statement should make its appearance. But 
after the Narrative was published, so much party spirit was evi- 
dently displayed in the production, that Mr. Ward "was appre- 
hensive of being involved in the dispute, were he to appear as an 
active agent in the publication of a reply, he, therefore, declined 
having any concern with it, as a publisher ; , but he will readily at- 
test that the account I wrote for him, precisely agreed with my 
Correct Statement, and only differed by the introduction of other 
matters, which afterwards came to my knowledge. 

Mr. Warren comes forward as the advocate of Mr. Barlas, 
" I know (says Warren) that his character for integrity is unim- 
peached — As a man of business, he is industrious and honest — As 
a citizen respectable, and as a christian sincere." To what a 
deplorable situation is poor Barlas now reduced, that he has no 
other defender but the miscreant Warren ? For Barlas was once 
a pious clergyman, and in the words of the English satyrist : 

. " No drav horse ever work'd so hard 



From vaults to drag up hogshead, tun, or pipe 
As this good priest, to drag for small reward 
The souls of sinners from the devil's gripe." ' 

Were it not for the officiousness of his friend Warren, Barlas 
Jnight for me, meditate all his life in his darksome cell, on 
those love sick thoughts which are reported to have driven him 
from his native home, and separated him forever from the dearest-, 
of his congregation, the ladies, who 

" Protested that they lov'd him as their life, 
So sweetly he would look, when down t-o pray'r ! 
So happy in a sermon- choice ! 

And then of r.iprhtin coaler the voice I" 



[ 52 ] 

I never quote poetry, but when thephiz : of Barlas, or the figure 
of the little deputy attorney general, or some such ludicrous idea- 
presents itself to my mind' j in those- cases, I believe the liberty 
is pardonabk,'_but scarcely in any other, in subjects of this nature. 
To say any more of the reverend bookseller, would really be cru- 
el ; by his connexion with Warren, he has already suffered too 
much ; every honest man would wish he had other friends and ac- 
quaintances. 

Warren [states, that he believes Duane's letters to me, were 
directed without exception, to Messrs. Denniston and Cheetham. 
In this he is mistaken ; sevaral of them were directed to Mr. 
Ward, and they contained more than either Warren or Duane 
has mentioned. Th<*y comprised all the stones inserted in the 
history respecting Mr, Adam s^ 

The tedious relation in tlie Antidote, respecting the manner 
in which the correspondence inserted in the Narrative was obtain- 
ed, is an entire fabrication. Mr. Cheetham, repeatedly informed 
me, that he was the author of the Narrative himself ; that he ob- 
tained s)\ the information respecting the suppression from Barlas 
and his sister ; that he perused the correspondence in Barlas's back 
shop, and that the courteous damsel brought him a copy of the 
history, one Sunday to his house.. As to the certificates of Den- 
niston and Cheetham, with which the Antidote abounds, they 
can carry no credit to the mind of any virtuous..man, after it has 
been ascertained, that Denniston was a member of the Illuminati 
society, and that Cheetham was a principal supporter of the- in- 
fidel Dnscoir. 

The letter of the acute Walter Morton, deserves the attention 
•which is due to the certificate of a stranger,, until his character be 
exposed ; Mr. Cheetham being, probably, apprehensive that the 
public would be ignorant who' this zealous Jeffersonian was, 
thought proper to inform them that he was a man dedicated to 
Mercantile pursuits. This finesse of Cheetham's, had for several 
Lavs the desired effect with the small circle cf readers, into whose 



C 53 ] 

hands the Antidote fell , and they verily believed, that the Cale- 
donian, who used to hobble at my heels ia the dark nights of win- 
ter, was no other but Mr. Thomas Morton, a respectable mer- 
chant in pearl street, but that the press compositor, by mistake, 
had inserted Walter in place of Thomas. But when it is said 
Mr. Thomas Morton declared his entire ignorance of the affair, 
the natural conclusion was, that Walter Morton must have been 
one of those convenient creatures, who, like Dr. Warren, start 
up at a nod of the citizen's brain, and with the pliancy of an evil 
fairy, volunteer to grumble his favorite ditties, and to vouch 
for his billingsgate. No father notice would, therefore, have been 
taken of the letter, had not the Scotch snake-scraper, fearing that 
his literary epistle would be consigned to oblivion, ran to the cof- 
fee-house, as is reported, and proclaimed himself the author. 
This is a place where tke scouts of the citizen office seldom enter, 
but when ihey exchange their tattered rags for sunday clothes, a 
mark of Christianity not yet laid aside by many of the Columbian 
Illuminati. The unusual appearance of an huge greasy looking fel- 
low, with large goggling eyes, coming to sound his classic fame, 
naturally attracted attention. To every enquiry which was made 
respecting his place of residence, he replied, it is said " I keep 
Jammie Thompson's books in maiden lane." 

As I have used the word, snake-scraper, it is proper that I ex- 
plaiu the term. — In every country there are beings of this descrip- 
tion ; in England, Ireland and America, as well as Scotland— 
They are divided in Britain, into four species ; the king snake, 
the law snake, tke parson's snake, and the dirty snake. — The 
king's snake it the most lordly of the four ; he kicks all mankind 
with his tail, but his majesty's minister, whose paw he licks, and 
to whose breech he bows, in hopes either of place or pension — The 
parson's snake is a more courteous reptile, he laughs like little Ri- 
ker with earls and dukes, prays to Bishops Avith all the fervency 
of M'Knight, and wags at the tables of the great, until he rolls 
himself into a covert of luxury and ease — The law snake thougfc 



[ 54 } 

Hot so majestic in appearance is swifter in motion than either of his 
superiors, and never fails by one means or other to seize the prey, 
on which his eyes have once darted The dirty snake or snake- 
scraper, is the most dirty of all human reptiles, he solely exists, 
by drawling his blotted carcase along the tract, marked out by 
the filth of his brethren, he pokes his head into the vilest hovels, 
and if necessity requires, he gilds his scales by wallowing in the 
streams which flow from the fragrant abodes of his goddess Cloa- 
cina — Among this latter species I class Walter Morton the prin- 
cipal certificate man of Dr. Warren. The birth, education and 
practice of this fellow are indexes in his life which characterise 
him as a snake scraper, as completely, as any marks which the 
naturalist adopts to distinguish the various animals of the creation. 
His father, and for ought I know his grandfather, and great 
grandfather, exercised in a country village in Scotland, what is 
deemed in that country the most contemptible of professions, an 
understrapper in the excise — Walter Morton himself, I mean War- 
ren's obedient servant, as soon as his father had instructed him to rec- 
kon on his fingers pounds andpence ; was set adrift to earn his liveli- 
hood in the same honorable manner. He therefore lingered out the 
yearswhich he spent in Scotland, in the out houses ot brewers and 
distilleries ; this was the school in which he was taught the principles 
of honesty, and the society which instructed him in manners, 
truth, and politeness. He improved the knowledge which he had 
acquired in his native country, by an intimate acquaintance with 
Cheetham, Dennistbn, and other Clintonian patriots— I could give 
many other particulars of this man's life, but they^would only be 
disgusting and forbidding to every moral reader — \fchat I have 
said, is enough to shew the reliance or degree of credit which his 
elaborate epistle deserves. 

As to Christian's certi-ficatc, I shall only remark, that this man 
was a member or connected with the society which I style the Co- 
lumbian Illuminati ; and that he belongs to the lower class 
»f Irish— When I use this expression, I trust, it will not be 



[ 55 ] 

deemed a reflection on the nation. There are no people in the 
world, on whose honor or veracity I would place more reliance, 
than the well informed Irish ; but the ignorant of that country- 
are by prejudice and the early habits of life, soled a way by passion, 
that little or no dependence can be placed on their assertions. 

Mr. Aird is the only certificate man in Warren's list, who de- 
serves the smallest degree of attention. Of this young man, I 
think myself bound in honour to affirm, that I do not believe he 
would set his name to what he thought an incorrect statement.—* 
But the natural violence of his temper, and his zeal for the Clinton 
family, often hurry into his mind, ideas for which he has no foun- 
dation* 

Before I conclude, it is proper to mention two circumstances 
which have come to my knowledge since the first sheets were 
thrown off. The first respects a circumstance which I transcribed 
from the view of Mr. Burr's political conduct, which states " that 
Mr. Van Ness was negatived, having only eleven of the forty-nine 
votes." But the cause of this was owing to Mr. Van Ness him- 
self declining being held up, after Mr. George Clinton withdrew 
as it was imagined that he was obnoxious to the friends of 
the latter gentleman, and if his name were withdrawn along 
with George Clinton's it would be the means of adjusting any dif- 
ferentes which existed among the minds of the citizens. 

The next incident relates to a conversation which I have had 
with the plilosophic Barber — He Informs me that Mr. De Witt 
Clinton paid him two visits in place of one, but that he never offer- 
ed him the honour of shaving the family — He only complimented 
"him upon the Republicanism of his pamphlet, and conversed with 
him about one hour each time, on the principles of government. 

I have now treated in order, the different matters which I pro- 
posed in the beginning of this pamphlet. How far I have fulfilled 
my promise in exposing the faction of the Clinton family, and their 
connexion with a society of Iliuminati, the reader will judge. My 



( 56 ) 

motives however they may be construed by the wicked and the 
ambitious, I flatter myself will be viewed by every impartial and 
good man as proceeding but from one cause, an earnest desire of 
preserving that religion which all real patriots ought to profess and 
with the approbation of this part of the community my mind shall 
be satisfied. What I have done is no more than a duty incum- 
bent on every christian. The divine Revelation is a right handed 
down to us by our ancestors, and delivered to our care, with the 
obligation of transmitting it to our posterity as the dearest of 
earthly inheritance. Those who maintain a different doctrine and 
tell Americans, that their constitution sanctions no one religion 
in preference to another, only wish to ensnare the judgment of the 
unthinking and wavering citizen. The constitution of the United 
States, we ought to thank providence, has been erected on the 
fundamental principles of Christianity ; principles which will re- 
main, when the names of their most violent opposers will be bu- 
ried in oblivion, when neither Clinton or his party will be heard of, 
and when the standard of infidelity will only be regarded as the sig- 
»al of vice, treason, and rebellion. 



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